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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend delivered her triplets at 25 weeks on Oct. 29. 3 days later, both her little girls passed away - one expected (Emma), and one (Jenna) suddenly just a few minutes before the one who had not been expected to survive. Her little boy Zachary is still in the hospital and on a ventilator - and is expected to survive, but still has a long road ahead of him and his long-term health is uncertain.
My heart just breaks trying to imagine how she will get through this season. She has already packed up her 3 of everything baby stuff and returned it since it was too painful to look at. She is at Zachary's beside every day, and runs herself ragged in between to keep her mind and body busy.
She does have a wonderful family who have been very helpful, I think. And she is one of our L&D nurses, so all of us on our unit have been able to try to help her all along the way - but it just seems like not enough.
I bought her 3 engraved ornaments for her babies - 2 angels, and a train and will give them to her tomorrow. Wish there was something else to do for her.
 

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doctorjen:

I don't know how your friend will make it through the holidays....but she will get through them with loving support from people like you. I'm devastated for her - to have one child is unimaginable, but two...and a third so sick....I will be thinking of their family and sending love.

This is our second Christmas without our daughter and it's brought it's own new set of challenges for me.

What a loving gesture for you to give her ornaments - I'm sure it will mean a great deal to her. If not this year, then in the coming years. Just keep giving her an opportunity to talk about her feelings - in a safe space.
 

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Does your friend have older children? If so, one thing that helped a mom I know when her son was in ICU was that some friends without children went to the hospital on Christmas morning and stayed with her little boy so that she and her husband could spend Christmas morning at home with their little girl.

I'm at a loss for words otherwise. How sad and frightening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No other children. This was her first pregnancy after a long struggle with infertility, and finally IVF.
I talked with her tonight, and her little guy is hanging in there. He had several episodes of needing to be bagged due to apnea in the last few days, and yesterday pulled his endotracheal tube out while his dad was changing his diaper! But he's still struggling and everyday has challenges.
She's coming to the L&D unit Christmas party tomorrow and I'll give her the ornaments then. I can't imagine the strength it takes to go on in her situation!
 

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That's pretty incredible that she's going to your hospital party. I hope you don't think I'm out of line here, but I really don't feel it would be a good idea for you to give her the ornaments you got for the babies at the party. It's probably a HUGE effort on her part to be out in public while so raw emotionally. Is there a way you can see her privately and give them to her? That way, if she's feeling like she wants to talk, she'd have the safe space to do so? And also, I'm sure your beautiful gift is going to being tears....which she might also prefer to shed with you privately.

I will say a prayer for their son - please keep us updated on how he's doing.

And how are you doing with all this? I hope you have a good support network for yourself. I can only imagine that you see babies die in your line of work, but it has to be different when you know the family. Will be thinking about you as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She's going to take my present home to open with her husband - she knows it's for her babies.
Our unit potluck is not a like a big party. There are only 10 L&D nurses total on our L&D unit, and we are all like family. All of us took care of her during the pregnancy, and most of the nurses have been to the NICU 1 1/2 hours away to see the baby. One other nurse's dad was in the same hospital dying when her little girls died. I think for her it's one of the "safer" holiday gatherings to go to, and I know she's been looking forward to it, actually. She knows the other nurses are folks she can talk about her little girls with as much as she needs to, and we've all looked at pictures over and over and cried with her.
I would not dream of ambushing her in public!
It is so hard to think about those poor babies and their family. I did her early prenatal care in combination with the high risk docs, and listened to their heartbeats, and felt them move. It's so painful to know that Emma and Jenna have been gone almost 2 mos, and that my friend should still now be 33 weeks pregnant with them. Somewhere in my training an older doc told me that doctors have to have broad shoulders to hold up under some of these situations, and you really do have to try in your professional life not to be a soggy mess when a patient needs you. It's really hard sometimes, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Christmas was hard for my friend, but was made a little easier by the fact that Zachary came off the ventilator on Christmas day! He is now on a new type of nasal cannula oxygen that provides high flow and doing well. He isn't eating by mouth yet, but is thriving on her milk through his NG tube. We are thinking maybe he might be home within the month - just in time for his Feb. 7 due date.
She did take home the ornaments I got for her and opened them at home with her husband and said they made her cry, but she was glad to have them. Another family member bought her an angel figurine that she described as having one angel holding up another, and had the little girls' names engraved on little silver tags that hang from the angel's hand. I think many people remembered her little girls at least in words and that was somewhat comforting.
I think having the baby in the hospital still this year maybe prevented the full weight of grief from sinking in all the way since she has to put so much energy into caring for and worrying about him. I hope it won't hit her like a ton of bricks along the way somewhere.
Thanks for asking!
 
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